A HUGE explosion at a car-parts factory in eastern China that supplies General Motors killed at least 71 people and injured more than 180 others on Saturday morning.
The explosion occurred when more than 200 workers were on the site of the factory, which is in an industrial zone in the city of Kunshan in Jiangsu province.
The explosion occurred in a workshop in the factory, which polishes wheel hubs.
Rescuers pulled out 44 bodies at the site, while 27 other people died at a hospital, officials said.
At least 187 people were injured.
A preliminary investigation showed that the blast was caused by metallic dust and investigators faulted poor safety measures for the explosion.
Workers at the factory had complained over the past years about dangerous levels of dust and inadequate cleaning practices.
A dust explosion is caused by the fast combustion of particles suspended in air in an enclosed space.
Such dust explosions have been blamed for other deadly fires and they cause disastrous injuries when metallic dust sticks to the skin of workers, in this case burning between 50 and 90 per cent of their bodies.
In 2012, a dust explosion in an aluminum polishing workshop in Wenzhou killed 13 people and injured another 15.
The factory is operated by the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Company.
Its core business is electroplating aluminum alloy wheel hubs, supplying GM and other companies.
Police took away five senior Zhongrong executives to help in the investigation.